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10 of the greatest names in sports

"The name of a man is a blow from which he never recovers."
                    --Marshall McLuhan

Contrary to the mantra of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, today we take a look at the names on the back of the jersey, instead of the front.

And with the threat of lockouts in both the NFL and NBA looming, I'd argue it's the names of the players we'll miss, not the actual players in the suits.

As in no other profession, names in sport create an identifiable image of not just the individual athlete; they have the power to mirror the complexion of an entire city as well. Names can paint a jock in any form of character, and it's interesting how often a moniker will directly correlate to the athlete's persona. 

Sometimes it's a rare preponderance of consonants (Kent Hrbek) that echoes the goofy or unusual and endears us toward a player; conversely, an excess of vowels (Michael Olowokandi) can make an athlete seem strange or unusual. In other instances, the moniker seemingly extends beyond the uniform and evokes tenets of the publicly loveable (Kirby Puckett), or the seemingly evil (Miroslav Satan), or the notably obtuse (John Rocker).

On occasion, a name change (World B. Free) offers a sense of a jock's vanity or vision, or perhaps a direct knowledge of one's religious beliefs (Chris Jackson =  Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf). Perhaps the length of a name (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) gives us pause or stunts our interest in a guy; maybe some dudes awaken our appetite (Mark Hamburger); sometimes, a

name just looks like it was made for a specific color, on a specific jersey, and for a specific town (Pittsburgh Steeler Rashard Mendenhall comes to mind); and, really, there are those that just plain sound cool (Elijah Dukes).

Whatever your reason for enjoying or abhorring a name (and perhaps the owner of said moniker), here's a list of some of my favorites, taking only from the big four sports. Personally, I'm a big fan of alliteration. As always, I'd be most interested in reading your own favorites herein, consisting of names both past and present.

10 of Judd's Favorite Names in Sports

Lastings Milledge (Outfielder, Chicago White Sox)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Running Back, New England Patriots)

Brian Urlacher (Linebacker, Chicago Bears)

Grant Balfour (Relief Pitcher, Oakland Athletics)

Channing Crowder (Linebacker, Miami Dolphins)

Cal Clutterbuck (Right Wing, Minnesota Wild)

Vincent Lecavalier (Center, Tampa Bay Lightning)

Guillaume Latendresse (Left Wing, Minnesota Wild)

Rajon Rondo (Guard, Boston Celtics)

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Forward, Milwaukee Bucks)

 


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